Parking bays at The Word causing confusion for disabled drivers

Volunteers are sought to take part in a project about care packages
Volunteers are sought to take part in a project about care packages

Council bosses have been called on to end the confusion at disabled parking spaces at South Tyneside’s newest building.

Disabled drivers are being warned not to ‘cross the line’ at The Word in South Shields Market Place – or they may find themselves slapped with a parking ticket.

One resident fears disabled drivers face unwarranted fines.

The woman, who does not wish to be named, spotted a traffic warden handing out tickets to three vehicles parked in the bays.

She believes the fines were given because the drivers had mistakenly pulled up to the bollard displaying the disabled parking signs - which meant they were actually blocking a pavement because there is no kerb – just a of differently shaped paving stones.

She said: “The parking bays are misleading. If they don’t want people parking on the pavement then they should have a kerb or something to clearly define where the parking bay finishes and the pavement starts.

Someone needs to be going back down there and sorting this out and making it a lot clearer for drivers to know where the parking bay ends and the pavement starts.

Lee Hughes

“People shouldn’t have been given these tickets. The council needs to sort this out.”

The council’s only opposition councillor, Lee Hughes, is in agreement.

The Independent – Putting People First Councillor said: “This is something that needs to be looked at.

“Someone needs to get down there and sort this out.

Coun Lee Hughes.

Coun Lee Hughes.

“It needs to be a lot clearer for drivers to know where the parking bay ends and the pavement starts. I’m sure if people were aware this was a pavement then they wouldn’t park on it.”

He added: “Maybe if they moved the signs closer to where the bay ends or put a kerb there it will stop people from ending up with parking tickets, due to a genuine mistake on their part.”

A spokesman for South Tyneside Council said: “The Word is proving to be a hugely popular facility and we would encourage all drivers to park responsibly and follow the instructions on the signs so that everyone can access it easily.

“The bays are clearly marked with different coloured paving blocks which is standard practice in car parks. Vehicle owners have the right to appeal if they feel the ticket has been wrongly awarded.

“Details on how to do so can be found on the reverse of the Penalty Charge Notice.”

The area, behind the new multi-million pound library and media centre, is a free car park for up to two hours, although motorists still need a ticket.